During the recent launch event for its BEV Factory, Toyota (Toyota Motor Corporation) unveiled its ambitious plans for the next generation of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), set to commence production in 2026.

Toyota’s vision includes cherishing BEVs with advanced specifications that will offer exceptional driving experiences. These forthcoming vehicles will not only feature innovative designs and construction methods. Still, Toyota will also equip them with a diverse range of cutting-edge batteries, tailored to exceed the varying needs and expectations of Toyota’s discerning customers.

At a recent technical workshop themed “Let’s Change the Future of Cars,” Toyota provided a sneak peek into the groundbreaking technologies underpinning their next-generation BEVs. This included a preview of their strategic rollout plan for advanced battery technology.

Takero Kato, the President of Toyota’s BEV Factory, shared that these next-generation BEVs are slated to debut in the market in 2026. Out of the 3.5 million BEVs Toyota anticipates selling by 2030, a significant portion—1.7 million units—will belong to this new generation. Kato emphasized the pivotal role that a range of battery technologies will play in making BEVs appealing to a broader spectrum of customers, catering to their diverse preferences and requirements.

Similar to the diverse range of engine options available, we will require a variety of battery choices. Providing battery solutions that are adaptable to various vehicle models and tailored to meet different customer preferences is of utmost importance.

Takero Kato – President, BEV Factory

Toyota has introduced four cutting-edge next-generation batteries, showcasing remarkable advancements in both liquid and solid electrolyte technologies. Additionally, they offered a glimpse into two upcoming developments in solid electrolyte battery technology.

Improved Performance from Liquid Electrolyte Batteries

Toyota is actively advancing the development of batteries featuring liquid electrolytes, which presently represent the prevailing technology for battery electric vehicles (BEVs). These enhancements aim to achieve superior energy density, enhanced cost-effectiveness, and accelerated charging speeds.

Within the liquid electrolyte batteries domain, Toyota focuses on three primary technology tracks: ‘Performance,’ ‘Popularized,’ and ‘High Performance.’

1. Performance [Lithium-Ion]

Designed for integration into the forthcoming next-generation BEVs set to debut in 2026, the Performance Li-Ion battery is poised to extend the driving range of BEVs to more than 800 kilometres. This achievement will result from a synergy of enhanced aerodynamics and reduced vehicle weight.

Key features of the Performance Li-Ion battery include:

  • A remarkable 20% cost reduction compared to the current bZ4X BEV.
  • Rapid recharging capabilities, with a charging time of 20 minutes or less to reach a State of Charge (SOC) between 10% and 80%.

The expected timeline for the introduction of this technology is in 2026.

2. Popularisation [Lithium Iron Phosphate]

In a bid to make Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) more accessible to a broader audience, Toyota is actively developing high-quality yet cost-effective batteries, providing customers with a range of battery options similar to the diversity they currently enjoy with various powertrains.

The Popularisation battery utilizes Toyota’s pioneering bipolar technology, proven success in their NiMh hybrid electric vehicle batteries, and incorporates cost-effective lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO) as its core material.

Key features and benefits of the Popularisation battery include:

  • An impressive 20% increase in cruising range compared to the current bZ4X.
  • A substantial 40% reduction in cost compared to the current bZ4X.
  • Swift recharging, with a charging time of 30 minutes or less to reach a State of Charge (SOC) between 10% and 80%.

This technology is anticipated to become available in the 2026-27 timeframe.

Image Source: newsroom.toyota.eu

3. High-Performance [Lithium-Ion]

Toyota is actively in the process of developing a High-Performance battery, a technological marvel that merges the bipolar structure with Li-Ion chemistry and incorporates a high nickel cathode. This fusion of innovations is poised to achieve significant advancements, pushing the cruising range capability to over 1000 kilometres. We will accomplish this remarkable feat in tandem with enhancing aerodynamics and reducing vehicle weight.

The High-Performance battery is also anticipated to deliver the following key features:

  • An additional 10% reduction in cost compared to the Performance battery.
  • Swift charging capabilities, with a charging time of 20 minutes or less to reach a State of Charge (SOC) between 10% and 80%.

We expect to make this groundbreaking technology available in the 2027-28 timeframe.

Breakthrough with Solid-State Batteries [Lithium-Ion]

Toyota has achieved a groundbreaking technological advancement in its pursuit of enhancing the durability of Li-Ion solid-state batteries, long regarded as a potential game-changer for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs).

Toyota’s solid-state batteries feature a solid electrolyte that facilitates the rapid movement of ions and grants them a higher tolerance for elevated voltages and temperatures. These attributes make solid-state batteries exceptionally suited for quick charging and discharging, as well as for delivering increased power within a more compact form factor.

Previously, the trade-off with solid-state batteries had been their anticipated shorter lifespan. However, Toyota has recently surmounted this challenge through technological innovations, leading the company to shift its focus towards the mass production of solid-state batteries.

The goal is to fully prepare for commercial utilization by the 2027-28 timeframe.

While Toyota initially slated solid-state batteries for introduction in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), the company has now shifted its primary emphasis towards next-generation BEVs.

Toyota’s inaugural solid-state battery is expected to offer the following remarkable features:

  • A notable 20% increase in cruising range compared to the Performance battery, achieving approximately 1000 kilometres.
  • Swift charging, with a charging time of 10 minutes or less to reach a State of Charge (SOC) between 10% and 80%.

Further Solid-State Development Activity

Toyota is actively developing an advanced Li-Ion solid-state battery with enhanced specifications, aiming to achieve a remarkable 50% increase in cruising range compared to the Performance battery.

Image Source: newsroom.toyota.eu

Optimising Battery Height to Improve Range

Aerodynamics plays a pivotal role in determining the range of all vehicles. In the ongoing quest to maximize the range of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), there is an increasing focus on reducing or optimizing Cd (drag coefficient) ratings.

Toyota takes this consideration a step further by zeroing in on CdA (Cd multiplied by A, where A represents frontal area). This approach acknowledges the substantial influence of frontal area on a vehicle’s range capabilities due to the multiplication factor involved.

A central aspect of Toyota’s strategy is the height of the battery, typically housed beneath the vehicle’s floor. This placement can result in an overall increase in the vehicle’s height, which, in turn, has a disproportionately magnified effect on CdA and, consequently, the vehicle’s range performance.

By lowering the height of the battery, Toyota aims to reduce the overall height of the vehicle. This reduction in height leads to improvements in CdA and, consequently, an increase in the vehicle’s overall range.

As part of this effort, Toyota is actively developing flatter battery technology. Currently, the battery pack of the bZ4X, including its casing, stands at around 150mm in height. However, Toyota’s plans include reducing the battery height to 120mm, and even further to 100mm in the case of high-performance sports vehicles where a lower hip position is also desirable.

These advancements in battery height have the potential to positively impact range, enhance driving engagement, and optimize packaging, depending on how manufacturers implement them within the vehicle.